Marc Simmons: Religion played a role in war in New Mexico

"The Spanish kingdom of New Mexico was first settled in 1598 by soldiers and their families. These conquistadors brought memories of Spain's centuries-long wars with Islamic Moors that ended with the final defeat of the Moors in 1492.

Once established on the Rio Grande, the newcomers, animated by their crusading spirit, attempted to bring the Pueblo Indians into the Christian fold through peaceful persuasion, or if necessary, by force.

Warfare was already a way of life among the Pueblos, inter-village strife extending far back into the dim past, as proven by archaeology. Most of the individual pueblos had war societies and a war priest.

Spaniards found in the 1500s that Pecos Pueblo was a major threat to Native villages in its vicinity. One expedition reported that the Piro towns of the Socorro Valley in the early 1590s were making war upon the neighboring Tiwa province to the north."

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: Religion in the midst of war (The Santa Fe New Mexican 6/11)

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